Diverting public funds-A A +A
An Independent View
Monday, November 4, 2013
THE government has done a good job in ensuring that the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio is under control. From a high of 74.5 percent in 2009, it is now below 50 percent.
This is better than most countries (United States is over 100 percent) and means that issues involving servicing our debts, whilst significant, are not overwhelming.
If the budgeted funds for any activity are not used, they should remain in the Treasury. Not hurriedly re-allocated to an activity which may not have any real merit and for which no effective oversight is exerted.
There is nothing wrong with having a lower deficit in any given year’s spending than that envisaged in the budget. In fact, it constitutes prudent financial management.
Those who have rallied in recent weeks have not doubted PNoy’s probity. What they have doubted, with good reason is the government’s ability and willingness to institute systems in which resources are deployed where they are supposed to be used and where they can do most good.
Furthermore, rallyists believe that funds are being diverted from the ostensible laudable purposes for which they are intended and instead are ending up in the possession of thieves. This is unacceptable. PNoy is at least partly responsible for the systems by which funds are allocated. It is clear that these systems are defective.
We are interested in the constitutionality or otherwise of the decisions which enable funds to be reallocated from the purpose which was decided by the budget. PNoy believes it is not unconstitutional for him to do so, but he needs to be more articulate on this issue. The principle of constitutionality of reallocation is before the Supreme Court and we hope for a prompt and definitive outcome.
We are concerned that funds appear to be more readily available to PNoy’s friends in Congress than those who are not amongst his supporters. This is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which envisages a separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches. Through venality, the Legislative branch is becoming dysfunctional.
PNoy appears to be concerned that his high ratings of public approval are dropping. The remedy is largely in hands. He has the public’s support in going after corrupt officials. But he needs to show energy and tenacity if he is to be effective. He showed these qualities when he was determined to remove former Chief Justice Renato Corona from office. But this was just one official – in fact the first amongst fifteen co-equals.
Can he achieve success in clarifying the confused circumstances surrounding the controversial allocation of public funds?
His place in history depends on it.
‘People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.’ -
Richard Nixon (1913-1994), Speech: 17 November 1973, in New York Times 18 November 1973
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on November 04, 2013.